January 31st, 2013
06:12 PM ET

Emboldened al Qaeda group seeking more Western targets to attack

By Barbara Starr

U.S. officials believe extremists across northern Africa, emboldened by the terror attack on a natural gas plant in Algeria, are growing more daring.

A senior American intelligence official tells CNN that "what we have seen is intelligence suggesting a desire to carry out more attacks" against western and U.S. interests in the region.

The United States is not aware of any specific threats, the official said.

But one of those believed to be plotting is Moktar Belmoktar, a veteran militant who has claimed responsibility for the attack this month on the BP facility in eastern Algeria that left at least 37 hostages dead.
READ:  Algeria gas facility attack fuels jihadist rivalry 

Threats are now coming from multiple Al Qaeda groups the region. U.S. military commanders have been warning of the threat from these elements in Africa for months.

"We're starting to see increasing collaboration, sharing of funding, sharing recruiting efforts, sharing of weapons and explosives, and certainly a sharing of ideology, that is expanding and connecting these various organizations, " said Gen. Carter Ham, commanding general of the U.S. Africa command.

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, nominated to become the next defense secretary, already knows what he would face.

"I will ensure we stay vigilant and keep up the pressure on terrorist - keep up the pressure on terrorist organizations as they try to expand their affiliates around the world in places like Yemen, Somalia, and North Africa," he said on Thursday at his Senate confirmation hearing.

But U.S. intelligence agencies may be of limited use to him when it comes to North Africa.

"We do not have the level of resources, the footprint or the capabilities we have in other theaters," the senior intelligence official said.

It's a broad acknowledgment that after more than a decade of focusing on Pakistan, Afghanistan and, in recent years, Yemen, the map has changed to include Mali, Algeria, Niger, Libya and Egypt.

The Obama administration is struggling to catch up.

One key problem is the lack of capable and willing governments in North Africa to partner with for any U.S. operation, intelligence officials say.

Furthermore, military force is a difficult proposition for the U.S. because al Qaeda in Africa has no central headquarters, no Osama bin Laden-type leader, and it is increasingly spread out over thousands of miles of remote desert.

As a result, American intelligence agencies are now working with France whose own spy networks are more established in the former French colonies.

The United States will set up a drone base in Niger to fly over safe havens, hoping to catch terrorists before they fully establish themselves and begin to plot attacks against the U.S. homeland.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Africa • Al Qaeda • Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) • Algeria • Carter Ham • Intelligence • Libya • Mali • Military • Niger • Pakistan • Terrorism • US Africa Command
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Skorpio

    Paying bounties to Muslim women to eliminate Islamic clerics, devout Muslims and terrorists is the cheapest way to stop global Islamic violence and keep a lasting peace. If Muslim women are empowered to have absolute power just like any emir, caliph or sultan, the world can benefit getting rid of Islamic clerics and devout Muslims who are the most perverse, violent, irrational, intolerant and discriminatory people. Don't forget that Osama Bin Laden was betrayed by his wives.

    February 7, 2013 at 11:03 am | Reply
  2. me

    They've just changed into criminals. With a religious bent, they may be able to cause choas but first they need money and this seems to be the way they want to go. If at first you don't succeed and everyone dies, then maybe your not as smart as you thought. So go back out to the tent or cave or where ever or what ever hole you came out of and get back inside and dig deeper. Stooge!

    February 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  3. Tembisa

    Reblogged this on World Chaos.

    February 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Lucifer

      I am a Lucifer worshiper. My brethren, my family and I support the CIA and the mossad child . . . Al Qaeda – We support all the hate and killing of the towel heads in the Middle East and throughout the world. We support israel's genocide to wipe away all the towel heads off the planet. Our Master is coming and He will start WW3 so there will be more deaths, misery and plenty of destruction throughout the christian world Only 500 million Lucifer worhsipers will survive the coming war. We, the children of abraham, enjoy seeing the zionist crusade unfold upon the arab lands by the hand of our Master . . .Lucifer the God of israel and America.

      February 1, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply
      • David

        Lucifer you will vomit when you hear LORD JESUS CHRIST!!!! this is already fortold about future events youre trying to twist peoples minds youre nothing but a bloody fool to be begin with,who have no idea what youre thinking but a twisted mind

        February 3, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  4. Badly-Bent

    Have Goodyear make an inflatable refinery decoy to attract terrorist actions. Then, just keep killing them

    February 1, 2013 at 8:58 am | Reply
  5. dl

    I used to have a blog but decided to go back to incessant, pointless barking.
    – Internet Dog

    February 1, 2013 at 8:33 am | Reply
  6. JOSH P.

    Let me guess they,ll be using some of the same weapons we are giving them in Syria.

    February 1, 2013 at 8:32 am | Reply
  7. Ghandi

    They once asked Ghandi what he thought of western civilization. He said, " I think it would be a wonderful idea". They don't have to attack us. 9/11 was the biggest attack on our psychological state as a country. We will fall chasing ghosts.

    February 1, 2013 at 7:27 am | Reply
    • Feed Your Head

      People are starting to wake up.
      We are not attacking America or Americans.
      The corporate military controling your country is
      a danger to the world.
      It will fail.

      February 1, 2013 at 8:15 am | Reply
    • Fred Phred

      Tell that the the families of the 4000 dead on 9/11.

      I'm not sure they would agree with you Chumley. You earned the butt-kicking. You earned the response.

      Don't cry now that you picked on the sleeping giant and he punched you back.

      February 1, 2013 at 8:21 am | Reply
      • DickPerry

        What 4000 ? Did you just include all traffic and gun victims?

        February 1, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  8. Jerry

    Lets give thanks to the "Clueless One" and "What does it matter now?!" Hillary.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    February 1, 2013 at 6:31 am | Reply
    • SayGoodnightCheney

      Jerry, you are ridiculous. President Obama's administration has taken out more terrorists then any other. Bush was the clueless one when he went from Osama dead or alive to I don't know where he is and it's not important. It's also ridiculous to make hay over 4 Americans getting killed in a hostile country. Under Bush's sleeping eyes we lost 3000 on our own soil. During the Bush administration, 11 Embassies were attacked and 59 people killed. Why didn't you raise hell over this?

      February 1, 2013 at 6:46 am | Reply
      • uncdig

        sure he has & Al Qaeda is destroyed and on the run. Don't you remember the Prez already told us that.

        February 1, 2013 at 8:16 am |
      • Fred Phred

        You dolt, nobody said they were destroyed.

        There was no photo op on an aircraft carrier with a mission accomplished sign in the background. Obama was not wearing a flight suit that he earned while skipping out on Vietnam by having daddy assign him to the Texas national guard.

        That was another president.

        February 1, 2013 at 8:24 am |
      • joec

        Yeah because this problem just popped up when Bush came to office. None of the planning or training for 9/11 happened under Clinton's watchful eye.

        February 1, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • Feed Your Head

      Dear Hillary Clinton,
      Thank you for a job well done.
      Please ignore the idiots, they are sub human Neanderthals.
      Soon to be extinct.

      February 1, 2013 at 8:18 am | Reply
  9. myway

    Surprise, surprise, I thought it was Al Quaeda's job to keep planning attacks. Leaks of such plans alone will put western governments on edge. I think we should keep an eye on them while publicly ignoring them. Putting them in the limelight of western news organizations encourages them. The purpose of their attacks is to achieve front page public exposure at a cheap cost. Something to think about.

    February 1, 2013 at 5:26 am | Reply
  10. Zoglet

    Initiate panic mode.

    February 1, 2013 at 4:18 am | Reply
  11. Usama Bin Laden

    Please spell my name correctly. Always remember it was your US Government who gave me money to create Al Qaeda. We are nothing more than a branch of the CIA. They give us weapons and tell us what to do. I had nothing to do with 9/11 attacks. You'd confess too if you were given tens of millions of dollars and full immunity. If you don't believe me, I really don't care. Most of you live in la-la land and ignore every inconvenient truth thrown your way.

    I get paid millions by your government because I know how to shape your thoughts. I'm a genius when it comes to psychology. I'll prove it to you. There will be replies to my posting such as "you're an idiot", "i dont believe you", "shut up", "lunatic", "you're lying." You are nicknamed sheep for a reason. Critical thinking is very rare these days. So many of you think and develop your thoughts through emotions and ignore facts. You are also easily brainwashed through the mainstream media which is the fourth branch of government. If you knew how the media operated, you'd be shocked.

    Have fun chasing down the boogeyman you people like to call "terrorists." The real terrorists are the members of the banking cartel and their puppet politicians who like to spread propaganda and create proxy wars for profit. You guys do realize you've been fighting the Taliban for over a decade now. That's 10 years and your mighty military can't defeat a group of 25,000 soldiers. Yes, only 25,000 fighters belong to the Taliban. The US has killed more innocent people through collateral damage than any "terrorists." You've gone trillions into debt and just walk around like everything's going to be ok.

    Well it's not going to be ok. America will collapse just like Rome did and that's just how the story will end. Your masters want it that way. You've already lost and have no clue. Appreciate what you have today because for an overwhelming majority of you, life will never get better.

    February 1, 2013 at 3:55 am | Reply
    • Matt

      You Suck

      February 1, 2013 at 6:57 am | Reply
    • sumday

      yawn- we aren't fighting a boogey man we are fighting a deranged way of thinking and I'll be the first to admit we aren't fighting it correctly. We should be taking over their airwaves and computers bombarding them with facts and questions. While you claim WE ignore facts well that is a human trait not a USA trait. Islam and the middle east ignore facts and logic all the time to the point that they would destroy anything contrary to what is convenient to their beliefs so they won't have to face those facts. You act like our government is the only one playing this way, but they are not- your “government/puppet masters” are just as dirty, crooked, corrupt, and self deluded as ours.

      I've no doubt the USA will follow Rome, just like I have no doubt that the middle east will rise up only to be broken in the end by Israel’s hope and salvation. You act like this is all some great scheme that you and others have put together on your own, but you are wrong- these plans and events were planned long before you even had a country to call home. Your "successes" are only intended to fuel your over self confidence which will lead to further your own self delusions- success is more of a tempter than a measuring gauge. Your masters are deceived and are deceiving. I tell you this so when it happens a decade or so from now you will remember this and how arrogant you were. You think you are on top and that is a key part of the plan of temptation and leading, but in the end you will be servants to the Jews and regret all you have done, thought, and said.

      February 1, 2013 at 8:59 am | Reply
    • Badly-Bent

      Your English is pretty good for a towel head.

      February 1, 2013 at 9:01 am | Reply
  12. Hey Baby

    This is funny.

    February 1, 2013 at 2:19 am | Reply
  13. bxfgujhfethjhgf

    THE PROFIT $$$ MO-HAM-ID $$$ WOULD BE FIVE HUNDRED YEARS OLD @ BEST FRANKLY I DRINK BEER OLDER THAN THAT CENTURYS OLDER

    February 1, 2013 at 12:24 am | Reply
  14. Tyler

    PetroDollar.

    February 1, 2013 at 12:19 am | Reply
  15. massoud

    the marlboro man is blind in one eye i say we get an CIA Operative to infiltrate marlboro mans inner circle and stick a fork in his good eye effectively blinding marlboro man and winning the war on terror.

    January 31, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  16. Joel

    Gee, and Obama was sold to us in 2008 as the Great Uniter, the Great Healer. If we elected Obama, Muslims around the world would quit hating us and trying to kill us, and would swoon at the force of his personality because it was the evil Bush that the Muslims really hated. Remember that, how Obama marketed himself to us that way? Another politician fraud.

    January 31, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      Thank you for showing us why your type keep losing elections.

      January 31, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      Muslims would always hate everyone. That's what Islam is all about. There is nothing either Bush or Obama could have done about that. Read the comments by a Muslim below calling himself "Mullah Omar", "George Patton" and other names below.

      February 1, 2013 at 12:20 am | Reply
      • theemptyone1

        Okay, but the fraud of Obama is that he DID represent that somehow his election would soften them for some reason, like because he was black and had a Muslim friendly name and maybe his policies would not be so pro-Israel, etc. Then, the reality of being the President of the U.S. came. He was local political organizer that got catapulted into the White House because he was black. However, previous white men have shown that once you're in, you can BS your way through, and Obama is doing good with that one.

        February 1, 2013 at 2:12 am |
      • Fred Phred

        And Dubbya said he would "use his ties to Big Oil, to keep the price low".

        What's your point? Politicans lie.. congratulations for figuring that out.

        February 1, 2013 at 8:15 am |
      • Chris

        I'm guessing you don't realize how ignorant you truly sound but let me tell you... YOU SOUND REALLY IGNORANT! The fact that people like YOU continue to lump all Muslims together (as if you can find a billion or more people of any race or religion that think exactly alike) just further shows how dumb you are and that is a good reason right their for our enemies to hate us. So don't blame the President because he was unable to change the minds/unite all of you bigots that still exist in this country, blame yourselves for not doing more to become enlightened/worldly. If you have never been to a Muslim country and don't really know any Muslims than maybe you shouldn't act as if you know how they all think.

        February 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • marctheduck

      But wait. Al Qaeda's on the run. Osama's dead and GM's alive, right? I mean that's why we voted Obama back in, right? Right?

      February 1, 2013 at 12:28 am | Reply
    • Griff

      Wow, Joel, really? You are an idiot if you believe what you just wrote. You know full well that is not how he was marketed. Your exaggeration is ridiculous.

      February 1, 2013 at 2:03 am | Reply
    • Aristotle

      Gee, guess that means he's not Muslim after all, huh?

      February 1, 2013 at 2:26 am | Reply
    • Leif

      No, I don't remember that, because it didn't happen. I do remember that Obama promised to put more focus on the war in Afghanistan, where it should have been all along, while ending the war in Iraq. He lived up to that promise.

      February 1, 2013 at 3:14 am | Reply
    • Feed Your Head

      If we elected Robme we would be attacking Iran.
      Thank god for Obama.

      February 1, 2013 at 8:21 am | Reply
      • yosemite sam

        Well, maybe so, but here's the thing... Iran was indeed ...oops, my bad...."allegedly"...attacked...If I remember correctly (please remember I am NOT directly quoting) something about 200 some-odd workers trapped because of an attack of some sort that had something to do with uranium producing...There was supposed to be an investigation of who was responsible, but the "general" consensus is that some person(s) from Israel who shall be nameless are responsible.. I tried to revisit the original article, to no avail.. my take on it is just this: it is being buried on purpose.. very complicated situation it is

        February 1, 2013 at 9:43 am |
  17. CentralParkTarzan

    ...here we go again...and the public Q...is falling in!...again...

    January 31, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  18. carl

    "The Obama administration is struggling to catch up"–What a surprise. Democrats don't do national security. I'm afraid some of us will learn the very hard way.

    January 31, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Reply
    • prinze

      The 9/11 attacks took place on the watch of a Republican President. There have not been any major terrorist attacks on Obama's watch.

      January 31, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Reply
      • biggerdawg

        Only because a Republican began what is ongoing. Need another example? See Jimmy Carters botched rescue attempt of the American Hostages.

        January 31, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
      • massoud

        Democrat Republican Republican Democrat Republican Democrat Republican Democrat Remocrat Depublican Depublican Remocrat Depubliclan Remocrat RED VS BLUE BLUE VS RED home vs away away vs home Ravens vs 49ers 49ers vs Ravens Coke Pepsi Pepsi Coke Pepsi Coke Camels Marlboros Marlboros Camels Marlboros Camels

        January 31, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Dave

      Osama Bin Laden was neutralized under a Democratic Administration. We were dragged into two pointless and costly wars under a Republican Administration. You realize theat your party keeps losing because so many of you think the way you do, right?

      January 31, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      Osama Bin Laden was neutralized under a Democratic Administration. We were dragged into two pointless and costly wars under a Republican Administration. You realize that your party keeps losing because so many of you think the way you do, right?

      January 31, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Reply
    • GlassHouse

      I seem to recall a video clip of George W sitting reading a story book while the World Trade Center was being attacked. Don't point fingers at this administrations intelligence shortcomings. No one is perfect on either side.

      January 31, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Reply
    • Leif

      The Democrats have decimated Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Republicans launched a war against a nation that was not involved in the 9/11 attacks. The Democrats know whom to fight and how to fight them.

      February 1, 2013 at 3:19 am | Reply
      • jck

        Killing only one out of ten is a good thing ? Look up "Decimate " and learn something today..

        February 1, 2013 at 7:30 am |
      • uncdig

        I guess your reading comprehension skills need a little work. Go back and read the article again, just read and mouth the words a little slower & don't let the big words trip you up.

        February 1, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Feed Your Head

      biggerdawg

      Only because a Republican began what is ongoing

      Yeah, they LET 911 happen.
      Traitors.
      Murderers.

      February 1, 2013 at 8:22 am | Reply
    • Fred Phred

      Tell Osama bin Laden that Dems don't do national security. I think he might disagree – CARL.

      I assume you work for a defense contractor? Is that it? Defense cuts got you scared? What's your angle?

      February 1, 2013 at 8:31 am | Reply
  19. Serengeti

    TERRORIST GROUPS IN INDIA
    • RASHTRIYA SWAYAM SEWAK SHANG (R.S.S.)
    • VISHWA HINDU PARISHAD (World Hindu Council)
    • HINDU MUNNANI
    • ARYA SAMAJ
    • SHIV SENA
    • BHARATIYA JANATA PARISHAD
    • SANT SAMITI
    • HINDU MAHASABHA
    • BAAJRANG DAL
    LEADERS: L.K. Advani/ Ashok Singhal/ Bala Saheb Devaras/ Bal Thackeray(EXTERMINATED)/ A.B. Vajpayee/ Savarkar/ Baikunnth Lal Sharma “Prem”/ Balraj Madhok/ The Shankaracharya of Puri, Niranjan Dev Theerth/ Rama Gopalan/ Variyar – Vishwan Hindu Parishad/ Dharmalinga Nadar/ Cho Ramaswamy

    January 31, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • do your research

      what about the Lashkar-e-Taiba

      January 31, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  20. Mullah Omar

    We pack Hindu temples with explosives and detonate for Diwali.

    Enjoy,
    Taliban

    January 31, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  21. George Patton-2

    Here's another scare tactic by those right-wingers in Washington again. Although Al Qaeda may be wanting to launch such an attack, they will not be able to do it in any matter unless they are enabled by the C.I.A. This war needs to stop as there has already been far too much carnage as it is!!!

    January 31, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Reply
    • biggerdawg

      This muslim war has been in gear for 1,400 + years, you're preaching to the wrong group.

      January 31, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Reply
      • Treasonous Cheney

        Like he said "...another scare tactic..."

        February 1, 2013 at 2:06 am |
      • Fred Phred

        If it's such a scare tactic, I suggest you go over the Pakistan and in the middle of a big city yell "I'm an American!! We love freedom"

        - and see how long your head stays on your body.

        I'm giving the +/- on that on about 3 days.

        February 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
      • Feed Your Head

        You are not very bright.
        You also dont read much.
        No Soviet Union to fight ?
        Invent a new boogie man to keep people scared.
        Call them "Al Queda" because it sounds "scarey".
        Then you can get rich selling weapons around the world
        while we play "whack-a-mole".
        You lose.

        February 1, 2013 at 8:44 am |

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